article-image“Death Masks” at Gorki Leninskiye (via Gorki Leninskiye)

Congregated in an eerily illuminated tunnel beneath what was once Lenin’s estate are 13 death masks of figures of the Soviet Union. Called Masks Shock, the exhibition at Gorki Leninskiye has the death mask and hands of Lenin as its centerpiece, along with the drawn faces of his fellow figures of Communism. 

article-imageLenin’s death mask (via Gorki Leninskiye)

The museum was once Lenin’s “dacha,” or second home, and he spent time recovering there from his 1918 assassination attempt, and later lived out the rest of his years at the estate until his death in 1924. That evening, sculptor Sergei Merkurov arrived and made a death mask that would serve as the model for Lenin sculptures all over the country. Merkurov would go on to become the master of the Soviet death mask, along with his contributions to the monumental USSR sculptures. Meanwhile, the clocks in the estate are still all frozen at 6:50 pm, the exact time of Lenin’s death.

article-imageTunnel with the death masks under Lenin’s estate (via Gorki Leninskiye)

(via Gorki Leninskiye)

The rare grouping of the 13 death masks includes Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky (killed under Stalin’s orders), Felix Dzerzhinsky (died of heart failure after a two hour long speech), Yakov Sverdlov (who caught influenza while giving an outdoor speech), Mikhail Frunze (killed by chloroform poisoning while undergoing surgery, although some suspect Stalin), Sergey Kirov (also a suspected Stalin assassination), Nadezhda Krupskaya (Stalin suspected again, although not proven), and Georgi Plekhanov (who died of tuberculosis).

article-image(via Gorki Leninskiye)

According to Moscow News, a slot was left vacant at the end of the exhibition, with visitors invited to respond to who they’d like to see displayed, although the museum’s head researcher Natalia Mushits told the publication: “It’s for Putin.”

article-image(via Gorki Leninskiye)

Masks Shock is at Gorki Leninskiye through September 1, 2013.